Afghanistan: First public execution since Taliban takeover, ‘deeply disturbing’ says UN rights office 

Early morning in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Unsplash/ Mohammad Rahmani
Early morning in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: First public execution since Taliban takeover, ‘deeply disturbing’ says UN rights office 

Human Rights

What is believed to be the first public execution in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power last year, drew criticism from the UN human rights office, OHCHR on Wednesday. Spokesperson Jeremy Laurence described it as a “deeply disturbing” development. 

Moreover, he added, it was performed in the presence of local residents and some senior members of the de facto authorities. 

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Reminding that public executions constitute a form of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, he stressed that they are “arbitrary in nature and contrary to the right to life protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Afghanistan is a State party”.  

According to news reports, the man put to death was accused of murder in western Farah province, after being accused of fatally stabbing another man, 5 years ago. A Taliban Spokesperson reportedly said the execution was carried out by the father of the victim. 

Over a dozen senior Taliban officials were reported to have been in attendance. In recent weeks, the country’s supreme court has announced a return to public lashings of men and women, for offences such as robbery and adultery. 

Prohibit capital punishment  

The death penalty is incompatible with fundamental tenets of human rights, and its use cannot be reconciled with full respect for the right to life, said OHCHR’s Jeremy Laurence.   

“We urge the de facto authorities to establish an immediate moratorium on any further executions, and act swiftly to prohibit use of the death penalty in its entirety”. 

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) echoed that message on social media.  

“The UN strongly opposes the death penalty in all circumstances”, it tweeted, urging the Taliban to establish and immediate moratorium on executions, “with a view to abolishing the death penalty”.